Using this poem, how would you describe Cummings' views on modern society?

Asked on by johndoeman

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joriegram's profile pic

joriegram | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

Cummings doesn't allow much room for "modern society" in this poem, just himself and his beloved; we see this in his punctuation, where commas, semicolons, and parentheses have no spaces following them. He tries to cram all of love's many dichotomies into the one poem: the beloved is described as having both "power" and "fragility"; likewise, he reveals her beauty/sweetness ("your slightest look will easily unclose me") as well as her coldness ("or if your wish be to close me,i and / my life will shut very beautifully,suddenly, . . . .). Perhaps, then, Cummings' poem comments on modern love, love that has room to make choices, to stay or withdraw.

gbeatty's profile pic

gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I'd describe it (modern society) as far less important than the individual and his /her connection with others. This poem focuses on love, desire, and how the connection between two people makes what is essentially a private world. The poet's focus is on the personal, allowing him to almost forget modern society.



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